We would love to do a camping trip or two to Canada. I traveled to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia many years ago with my family. At the time we just needed birth certificates for identification to enter Canada. I heard we now have to have a passport for each family member, even young children? I hear that passports are like 120 dollars each, and that would cost us approximately 500 dollars just in passports before paying for a vacation. Is there any other way around this if we just want to visit Canada once or twice? We can't justify paying that money when we might only go over there twice, if we traveled up there a lot then it would be worth it. Just curious for any tips! I love the atmosphere of Canada and would love to introduce the kids to a new place.
Nathaniel (5 yrs old)
Cadence (3 yrs old)
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Check the US State Dept website under the travel information for specific details....
You and your family can opt for "passport cards" which are valid for travel upon returning from Canada, Mexico, and the Carribean which are much cheaper vs a US passport and valid for re-entry in the US.
US Citizens entering Canada (as well as Canada Citizens entering the US) minimum document requirements for entry into the respected foreign country is to submit a photo ID and birth certificate (by establishing proof of citizenship and proof of identity)...
However, all US Citizens upon re-entry into the US are required to possess a US passport or equivelent documentation listed in the WHTI guidelines.
Although the requirement covers and states "ALL US Citizens are required to bear and possess US Passports, passport cards, enhanced ID's, nexus cards, or equivelent....
At this current time, it also states that children under the age of 16 "may also" re-enter the US with only proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate).
In my opinion, to be on the safe side I would obtain passport cards for children under the age of 16 as the state department suggests these document requirements are going to be more essential to possess with the everyday changes that occur.
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I think you would need passports more for re entering the U.S. than for entering Canada. Check with your customs office before you travel to be sure. Maybe even call Canada customs to be on the safe side.
35 year Fire Fighter(retired)
This is a subject that can get complicated in a hurry. Take all the posts into consideration but check the facts yourself online or with a phone call to the US Customs.
Generally speaking, the requirements are divided into air travel and ground travel. For those of us that RV, the passport requirements are to get back into the US, not so much to enter Canada. But the Canadian authorities won't let you into Canada if you don't have the proper documents to get out of Canada back into the US. Children under 16 need only a copy of the official birth certificate. Passports issued to children 16 and above are good for 10 years, 15 and under are issued for 5 years.
If you live in one of the US border states that issue an "enhanced" driver's license that will work for ground travel, but not air travel.
You will get all sorts of "opinions" such as your really don't need any proof if you are a citizen and they can't keep you out of the US. May be true to a point, but I am not interested in setting around for a day or so at the border crossing while they decide and verify my citizenship. It is also a moot argument, since Canada won't let a person in without proof of citizenship. If a person can't get into Canada, not much worry about getting out.
As of today, IMHO, it appears that passports for the adults and children 16 and older are the best way to go. Birth certificates for the 15 and younger group. My wife and I keep copies of our passports in several different places in the RV, plus the passport number in our smart phone's memory. If your passport is lost, etc., it will be a much faster crossing if you have the basic info from your passport, to match up with their computer info on you.
Again, verify the requirements yourself online and there is a lot of information out there, the best is from the actual government sites run by either Homeland Security or the State Department in my opinion. My wife and I have kept current passports for the last 40 years and had them for our daughters from a very young age. Just makes it so much easier to cross the borders of the world.
Formerly of Colorado and Alaska
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"Without challenge, adventure is impossible".
To avoid any hassle getting back into the US make sure everyone has a passport (good for 10 years) OR passport card (land and sea travel only), NEXUS card, enhanced drivers license, etc. AND if you are traveling with kids have proof they are your kids (don't laugh because it's true) - depending on age a birth certificate will suffice but as someone else said call US Customs and get it directly from them
Land or Sea Travel: U.S. citizens entering the United States by land or sea are required to present a valid WHTI-compliant document, which include:
U.S. Passport Cards
Enhanced Driver's Licenses
Trusted Traveler Cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, or FAST)
Military Identification Cards (for members of the U.S. armed forces on official orders)
U.S. Merchant Mariner Document (for U.S. citizens on official maritime business)
Military personnel traveling under orders may present photo ID and orders. Family members must present a passport (with the exception of children 15 and younger arriving by land or sea.)
Children: U.S. citizen children ages 15 and under arriving by land or sea from a contiguous territory may present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate (issued by the Vital Records Department in the state where he or she was born), a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Naturalization Certificate. If the child is a newborn and the actual birth certificate has not arrived from the Vital Records Department, we will accept a Hospital issued birth certificate.
This is from the Canadian Border Services Agency website;
When you enter Canada, a CBSA officer may ask to see your passport and a valid visa, if one is necessary. If you are a citizen of the United States, you do not need a passport to enter Canada. However, you should carry proof of your citizenship, such as a birth certificate, certificate of citizenship or naturalization, as well as photo identification. If you are a permanent resident of Canada or the U.S, you should bring your Permanent Resident Card with you
Back in 1997 when our first kid was born we got passports and continued to do so for a number of years. The last time we renewed was 2005 and they expired in 2010. Since then we have been into and out of the US without any issues on expired passports when we cross the line in a vehicle. So long as you have "sufficient" proof of identity.